American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Old and New

I'm trying to put together a new cookset/mess kit and, of course, Titanium, Aluminum, and Stainless Steel are all at the top of the list (I'm more interested in a size and shape than I am in a weight and material.) I look at Trangia stoves, soda can stoves, and even the Vargo Titanium alcohol stove. There's the JetBoil which hasn't fit in anywhere else in my style of hiking and camping and either needs to find a place or needs to go back to REI.

Meanwhile I'm reading Muir, Kephart, Nessmuk, and Seton who were all pioneers of the American outdoor experience but at a time when there was no Titanium, Aluminum, or Stainless option. They probably all used tin or steel. They cooked over a campfire more often than not.

They carried provisions but probably not the dehydrated foods we can carry today (and certainly not to the extent we can carry them today) and yet not one of them starved in the woods or on the trail.

We use technology because it's available. That's human nature.

When the first bowdrill was made it made the hand drill obsolete. When the flint and steel fire was built it made the bowdrill obsolete. Now firesteels and petroleum jelly cotton balls have made flint and steel fires obsolete. Now we use those old skills as a test of our abilities but they have, for the best part, been replaced by simpler methods. Given a choice today between starting a fire with a hand drill or a lighter when soaking wet and cold which would you choose?

I'm left wondering what sort of kit the men listed above would build today given the multitude of options we have. I highly doubt they'd go with what they used back then but that's pure speculation.

Ah well, back to the old mess kit/cookset assembly...

Thanks for reading,



At 10:08 AM, Anonymous George Hedgepeth said...

I believe old Horace DID use aluminum!

At 12:37 PM, Blogger American Bushman said...

He did?

Check this link:
Kephart's Mess Kit

They say all of his stuff is made of tin.

I'll check the book again to make sure that's right. Heck, I don't need much of an excuse to crack it open anyway. :)

Thanks for your comment,



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